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Turkish citizen suspected of killing Russian pilot to remain in custody until June 2017

June 28, 16:49 UTC+3
Alparslan Celik is charged within another criminal case
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© EPA/SEDAT SUNA, Archive

ANKARA, June 28. /TASS/. Turkish citizen Alparslan Celik who is suspected of involvement in the murder of Russia’s Sukhoi Su-24 bomber pilot Oleg Peshkov last November, will remain in custody until June 8, 2017. The Anadolu Agency reported on Tuesday that this decision has been made by a court in the city of Izmir.

According to the court ruling, "Celik will remain in custody until June 8, 2017, as he is charged within another criminal case." Several years ago, he was found guilty of fraud and sentenced by court to 2.5 years in prison and a fine. However, he escaped from prison and did not serve his term.

Turkish police detained Celik and another 14 individuals in a restaurant in Izmir on March 30. The authorities confiscated several unlicensed submachine guns, a rifle and several pistols from the suspects. Some had allegedly returned from Syria where they had fought on the side of armed militant groups.

The local media spread Celik’s confession about the murder of the Su-24 pilot, Oleg Peshkov. Later, when in custody, the suspect denied personally shooting down the Russian, saying he had never issued such an order. Subsequently, the Prosecutor’s Office failed to find sufficient grounds to initiate criminal proceedings for that incident.

On November 24, 2015, a Turkish F-16 fired an air-to-air missile, slamming into a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 bomber at an altitude of 6,000 meters and roughly a kilometer from Turkey’s border. Later, the Russian Defense Ministry specified that the Su-24 was downed when it was returning to the Hmeymim airbase in Syria.

"Objective control data analysis explicitly demonstrated that there was no violation of Turkey’s airspace," the ministry said. However, Turkey’s General Staff claimed that the Turkish fighter jet had shot down a plane that violated the country’s airspace. A statement circulated by the Turkish military said the plane’s crew had received ten warnings in five minutes.

The crew managed to eject from the aircraft, but one of the two pilots was killed by gunfire from the ground. The second pilot was rescued and evacuated to the base.

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